By Bjørn Smestad

It’s Election Day!

For the Security Council, that is. Five new non-permanent members of the Security Council will take up their seats on January 1 next year. The election is today. The big races to watch are between Kazakhstan and Thailand, which are competing for one of the open Asian seats; and Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands, which are vying for two European seats. Bolivia and Ethiopia are running uncontested. Countries need a two thirds majority in the General Assembly to win their seat. For the truly nerdy amongst you, you can watch the voting via UN Webcast. And here is some deeper context from the Security Council Report.

Syria Violence Spreads to Lebanon in a bad way…If this indeed was ISIS, it would mark the first time that the group attacked a Christian village in Lebanon. “At least five people have been killed and more than a dozen wounded in a suicide bombing attack in northeastern Lebanon near the border with Syria, officials and a witness have said.Four suicide bombers blew themselves up early on Monday in the village of Qaa in Bekaa valley, the state-run Lebanese News Agency reported…Qaa is a predominantly Christian village, located just a few kilometres off a border checkpoint.” (Al Jazeera

Not Great Stat of the Day…“The number of militant Islamist attacks in Africa has more than quadrupled in just the past six years…Militant Islamist attacks grew from just 171 across Africa in 2009, to 738 attacks in 2015, according to new analysis by IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre.  Deaths from the attacks have grown from 541 in 2009 to 4,600 fatalities — an increase of more than 750 percent. (The Hill

Quote of the Day…“I’m here to shine a big bright light on you,” — Michelle Obama, visiting a girls leadership institute in in Liberia with her daughters. (ABC


Two people were killed and dozens injured by an explosion during an Independence Day concert in Madagascar’s capital. (Reuters

Human Rights Watch says it has documented the killings of at least 18 people by a police unit in Central African Republic. (VOA

In Cameroon, a proposed update to the country’s penal code has sparked a fierce debate. The proposal criminalizes adultery and adds jail time for offenses like begging and falling behind on rent payments. (VOA

In an attempt to keep news of troop deaths quiet, the Kenyan government is arresting reporters for circulating information online. (Index on Censorship

A consignment of aid shipped by WFP through Eritrea’s main port this month was the first in a decade and the latest sign of Asmara trying to rebuild ties with the outside world, diplomats said. (Reuters

Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Monday defended the tax collection agency’s decision to shut down a newspaper critical of the government, saying the revenue service did so to recoup unpaid taxes. (Reuters


The top UN humanitarian official in Syria, Yacoub El Hillo, is leaving his post and taking a job as the Deputy head of the UN mission in Liberia.(UN News Center

Dozens of homes were looted and burned as Fallujah was liberated from the Islamic State group, and Iraqi government forces Monday accused the retreating militants. Some provincial police, however, blamed the fires on Shiite militias operating with the federal police. (NYT

Twenty-five children were reportedly killed in airstrikes that hit heavily crowded areas in a town in eastern Syria, the UNICEF has said. (Reuters

Three coordinated Islamic State bomb attacks on Yemeni government forces killed 38 people in the southern port city of Mukalla on Monday, medics and security sources said. (Reuters

The U.N. and the International Committee of the Red Cross delivered aid Monday for 30,000 people in a besieged rebel-held Damascus suburb. (AP

Egyptian authorities on Monday detained a famous TV host whose program had been critical of the government’s policies, including its crackdown on freedom of speech, her lawyer said. (AP


China needs to “narrow its differences” with Western countries where corrupt officials have fled and seek their support, the country’s top graft watchdog said, as Beijing seeks to address worries about rule of law and transparency in corruption probes. (Reuters

Japanese and Chinese stocks rose Monday but other Asian markets declined, crude prices fell further and U.S. shares appeared headed for a lower opening as jittery traders watched for more fallout from Britain’s vote to exit the European Union. (AP

The Philippine president-elect says he will aggressively promote artificial birth control in the country even at the risk of getting in a fight with the dominant Catholic church, which staunchly opposes the use of contraceptives. (VOA

Many people have been forced to leave their parched fields for India’s cities in search of work. (IRIN

The head of Thailand’s military government said Monday he will not step down if an August referendum fails to approve a draft constitution it is promoting. (AP

North Korea: The United Nations is continuing to build the case to prosecute Kim Jong Un and his leadership for crimes against humanity. (VOA

The Americas

Mexican authorities say they have arrested three members of a drug gang in connection with last week’s slaying of three federal police officers in southern Guerrero state. (AP

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Monday called on the Senate to take immediate action this week to address Puerto Rico’s $70 billion debt crisis before the critical July 1 deadline for the island territory’s next debt payments. (Reuters

Rio de Janeiro’s acting governor warned Monday that the Olympic Games could be a “big failure,” because of budget shortfalls that threaten to compromise security and mobility during the games. (AP

…and the rest

Premature deaths from air pollution will continue to rise to 2040 unless changes are made to the way the world uses and produces energy, the International Energy Agency said. (Reuters


What the evolution of human culture can teach us about international relations. (UN Dispatch

Here’s what a new UN Report says about global trends in drug use (UN Dispatch

What people in humanitarian crises need is cash, not commodities (Guardian

Brexit Is Bad News for Africa. Period (Foreign Policy

South Africa’s intensifying protests could lead to electoral violence in August. (QZ )

We must step up the struggle for LGBTI rights (Guardian

China a potential winner in Britain-EU breakup (AP

Inside A Secret Government Warehouse Prepped For Health Catastrophes (Shots

What does Brexit mean for refugees? (IRIN

How Do We Know if We Are Improving Lives? Multidimensional Poverty and Subjective Well-Being (Development that Works

No orphanages, or just ‘good’ ones? Books and controversies from Cambodia’s Australian orphanage doyennes (Dev Policy